Erdogan encourages Palestinian unity as Abbas visits Ankara

Conflict with Israel and Jenin economy to be discussed with Erdogan, reports say

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ankara on a previous visit. AFP
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stressed the importance of Palestinian unity as he hosted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ankara on Tuesday.

"Unity and reconciliation between our Palestinian brothers is a basic element," Mr Erdogan said. Turkey rejects actions aimed at changing the historical status quo of holy sites in Jerusalem in reference to Al Aqsa mosque, he added.

His comments came as Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again postponed his trip to Turkey on Tuesday.

Palestinian officials have also emphasised their hope for an economic boost in the occupied West Bank, including the conflict-ravaged city of Jenin.

Mr Netanyahu was due to arrive in Turkey for a landmark visit on Friday, which he postponed after he underwent surgery to have a pacemaker fitted.

Jenin and Nablus have borne the brunt of Israeli action in recent months, with almost daily raids killing dozens. More than 150 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire so far this year, the deadliest year in more than a decade.

An Israeli raid in Jenin last month killed 12 Palestinians, including three children, and destroyed 80 per cent of its refugee camp.

President Abbas briefly visited Jenin in the aftermath, his first visit in 20 years after coming under heavy scrutiny for what residents said was a lack of support from the Palestinian Authority.

During the visit, Mr Abbas also spoke of unity among Palestinians as flags bearing the logo of the ruling party Fatah hung beside those of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas at Jenin camp's entrance.

The Israeli leader's trip will be "rescheduled soon", an adviser said.

The visit would have been the first by an Israeli prime minister to Turkey since 2008, after months of efforts to strengthen ties with Ankara, a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, which cut off ties with Israel for years over Israeli actions in Gaza.

Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank and the actions of its right-wing government have strained renewed ties, with Turkey criticising Israel over National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir's visits to Al Aqsa compound.

Updated: July 25, 2023, 6:53 PM